Lululemon athletica has named Nikki Neuburger as its first Chief Brand Officer, a role she will begin on Jan. 20. Neuburger will lead the marketing, creative, communications and sustainability functions in order to drive the company’s global brand and storytelling initiatives. Neuburger will join lululemon's senior leadership team and report directly to CEO Calvin McDonald.
Neuburger joins lululemon from Uber, where she served as Global Head of Marketing for Uber Eats for the past two years, and led the introduction and expansion of the brand across five regions in 36 countries. Previously, Neuburger spent 14 years at Nike, most recently as the company’s Global VP of Nike Running. In this role, she led teams around the world and reset the brand position to focus on product innovation, digital services and community building. She also oversaw the direction of the Nike Membership division.
The creation of the Chief Brand Officer position and the hiring of Neuberger come as the retailer continues to thrive under McDonald, who joined the retailer in 2018 from Sephora, replacing Laurent Potdevin, who was ousted for conduct violations. In Q3, Lululemon’s revenues shot up 23% to $916 million, with direct-to-consumer sales jumping 29%. The company has continued to push beyond its core yoga offerings, beefing up sales of men’s apparel, and introducing a line of personal care products.
Lululemon is steadily gaining on top competitors like Under Armour, Nike and Adidas. As of September 2019, lululemon was the No. 2 women's activewear brand behind Nike, and it is expected to surpass Nike as the top women's brand if the current trajectory holds, according to NPD Group data.
With the hiring of Neuburger, lululemon loses COO Stuart Haselden, who will officially take over the CEO role from Steph Korey at luggage brand Away on Jan. 13. Haselden spent five years with lululemon; during this time the retailer doubled its revenue and grew its market cap from $6 billion to nearly $30 billion.